A 29-year-old sex worker was found dead at her home in Sonagachi, Kolkata’s red light area, on Thursday morning, said police. A murder case has been lodged and a fruit-seller who used to stay with her is absconding.
The victim, who was also a member of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, an NGO, lived in a rented room in a two-storey building at Durga Charan Mitra Street. “The deceased was a resident of Kulpi, South 24 Paraganas…The owner of the building has lodged an official complaint. We have initiated a murder case,” said Joint CP (Crime) Vishal Garg. After the house owner informed local police, a team rushed to the spot. A homicide squad from Lalbazar and fingerprint experts also collected samples from the crime scene.
Police sources said there were three deep cuts on her neck. The body was sent for post-mortem and the area was cordoned off. “The door was locked from outside. Some people in the building saw her lying on a bed through a window. We are yet to identify the person who called the owner of the house and informed him about the incident,” said a police officer. “It is too early to reach a conclusion. She was apparently first strangulated and then her neck was slit,” said another officer. “We were informed by the building’s owner. She had an injury mark on her neck,” DC (North) Subhankar Sinha Sarkar told The Indian Express.
According to police sources, the prima facie suspect, Bablu, who used to stay with the victim, has been missing since Wednesday.The victim had been staying in the rented house for the last six months. On Thursday, a number of sex workers gathered outside her home.
“She was a very nice person, but her babu (a common term used in Sonagachi for clients) was not a good man. She would tell us he was her husband and that they had married in their village. She had also told us that she had a 9-year-old daughter, but we had never seen her. She would never stand in queue for clients like us. I think she used to please them outside and earn. On Tuesday, I saw her for the last time. It was at around 1 am. She had dressed up and was heading towards her home with her babu. After that we did not see her. We thought she wasn’t well but today in the morning we came to know that she has been murdered,” a sex worker living in the same building as the victim told The Indian Express.
A ‘mentor’ from the Durbar Mahila Sammanaya Samiti, an NGO that works for sex workers, of which the victim too was a member, told The Indian Express, “This is very alarming. We feel extremely helpless. We often run awareness campaigns for sex workers to ensure that they do not fall into the trap of babus who claim to love them and lure them by assuring marriage. These people just use them and earn money. We have our restrictions too. We cannot intervene too much because that’s their personal life. There have been instances where girls have been brutally attacked by these babus. It’s sad that we lost her. Police must arrest the accused at the earliest.”
In November last year, another woman, who was one of the first presidents of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Samiti, was allegedly murdered by two minor girls.